What Comes Next?
Good Tuesday, Activists,
We continue to hope you are having a safe and resourceful week.
We know you have questions about where we go from here. The events of the past few weeks -- the murders of Black men at the hands of police, the protests that followed, the heartbreaking scenes of more violence against protesters -- all raise more questions than they answer.
We believe that to move forward it is essential we learn how and why we got here. So today we'll have our usual new events and calls to action, but we also have resources to educate ourselves about many aspects of policing in America. We hope you find them useful in framing how we must advocate for change.
Learning through Movies
We’re planning to have another movie night and watch a movie that educates us about the movement for Black lives. We could watch the movie “together” on Netflix Party or individually. The following week we plan to have a discussion led by a person knowledgeable on the topic. Here is a poll so you can give us your choice of movies and any other suggestions. Let us know what you think!
CALL TO ACTION
Let’s talk about the police. Make a Call to Reimagine Policing In Philadelphia
In our CTA last week we asked you to call City electeds and demand they vote against Mayor Kenney’s budget proposal to hand over an extra $23 million to the police department. The next day Mayor Kenney announced a new plan to reform the PPD, and rescinded $14 million of new funding. So good for us that we pushed for this!
Now, let’s take a closer look at Kenney’s plan and decide whether it goes far enough – or even very far at all.
1. First up, here’s an article that describes Kenney’s proposals. For a hint at how well “reforms” are actually implemented in the PPD, with respect to one long-standing reform, “newly-installed PPD Commissioner Danielle Outlaw said she didn’t even know the system already existed.”
2. Learn the systems that protect police from accountability. Listen to this valuable episode of the New York Times podcast The Daily. It’s only a 23-minute listen and you will learn a lot.
3. Do the typical “reforms” actually work? We recommend this episode of the podcast "Pod Save The People" with an interview with policing researcher John Rappaport. The data tell us how many reforms just do not work to hold police accountable. You also can see the data on police union contracts here and how Philadelphia ranks.
4. Police violence takes a huge toll on Black lives. This article describes a study by the National Academy of Sciences on the effect of police surveillance and violence on Black people. From the article: “[T]he study labels such encounters a “leading cause of death” among all young men ages 25 to 29, not too far behind the diseases of cancer and heart disease. And it urges community leaders and elected officials to treat police violence as a public health concern.”
So now – Call our Philadelphia elected officials (find them here and here) and tell them Mayor Kenney’s “reforms” are not enough. We want real change in the police department and in their union contract. We demand that more money be removed from the police budget and used to fund non-police responders for crises such as mental health response teams and community violence prevention programs, and to fund Black community-led education, health, and safety programs.
We can even recommend the City consider the ideas in the new standards proposed in San Francisco.
For your further consideration:
Philadelphia police misconduct has been happening for decades. Last week saw yet another exoneration of a wrongfully convicted Black man because of Philadelphia police lies and withholding of evidence. Andrew Swainson spent over 30 years in prison while the real murderer went free. A Philadelphia court last week overturned the murder conviction and D.A. Krasner’s office dismissed the case due to the lack of evidence against Mr. Swainson.
For more background,you can learn about the history of policing in these articles.
Here is a good explainer from WHYY on how the idea of policing started in this country, to maintain existing social hierarchy.
Here is a fact-checking article and historical look at the origins of policing in this country.
This New York Times opinion piece, advocating for abolishing the police and starting over again, includes valuable links to the history of the police.
Here is Indivisible’s full explainer on the background and impact of police violence, and what we can do about it.
Learn to be anti-racist:
We encourage all of us to pursue our own anti-racism education. You can see our Activist Toolkit for general resources and below are more specific resources that you can use and share:
From our members:
Anti-Racism Daily Newsletter. It’s “Your daily reminder to dismantle white supremacy.”
Here’s another good resource with numerous books and articles.
Upcoming Protests –
See a listing of upcoming protests at this portal – https://phillyprotest.com/
NATIONAL CALL TO ACTION
Sen. Casey – Phila office 215-405-9660; D.C. office 202-224-6324; email link
Sen. Toomey – Phila office 215-241-1090; D.C. office 202-224-4254; email link
Rep. Evans – D.C. office 202-225-4001; Phila. office (215) 276-0340; email link
Rep. Boyle – D.C. office (202) 225-6111; Phila office (215) 335-3355; email link
Tell our MOCs to demand Secretary Mnuchin disclose the companies receiving Paycheck Protection Program funds. The legislation called for extensive oversight, which the Trump Administration is largely ignoring. Here is the explainer on where things stand. Democrats have started to demand disclosure but we need to tell our MOCs that we want them to keep up the pressure. Remember, this is our money and we need to know how it’s being spent.
Call and tell our MOCs to keep up this fight. We want to know where our money is going.
Tomorrow Evening –
Organizing Together 2020 is hosting an event from 6-7 PM called Community Voices Elevated. It’s a virtual panel discussion of community activists and organizers addressing inequality followed by a Q&A session.
Indivisible Philadelphia’s own Vicki Miller will be one of the panelists!
POSTCARD PROJECT – NO EXCUSES PHILLY VBM
But at the end of the day, what matters most? VOTING.
Join us in our new program to get out the vote inPhiladelphia. Our goal is to write to at least 50,000 Philadelphia Democratic voters to encourage them to Vote By Mail (VBM).
We have an exciting update - our volunteer writers are writing to over 16,000 Philadelphia voters already! We have good evidence from studies in Florida that sending these postcards will result in more votes.
So many of you are doing a fabulous job and we hope more of you will sign up here.
Here’s the plan.
Over the next 20 weeks until the November election, we will write at least 50,000 postcards to Philadelphia Democrats. We are targeting areas with low VBM sign-up rates. These are typically underserved communities of color and areas of high COVID-19 rates as well. We believe these are areas we can have the greatest impact.
We need all hands on deck! We hope you all will sign up for this exciting project. Click this link to sign up.
Here’s how it works:
1. You buy pre-stamped postcards from the Postal Service either at your local post office or online at this link. They are 39 cents each and we recommend you buy at least 50 postcards.
2. We will send you the instructions for writing the postcards, the script, and the addresses.
3. You’ll write the postcards and mail them as they are completed.
4. We’ll have Zoom postcard parties you can join if you want, Zoom office hours to say hi and answer questions, and some other fun stuff along the way.
Click this link to sign up.
So are you in?
Philadelphia MUST carry Pennsylvania, and Pennsylvania MUST help carry the country to a Blue Victory. So help us make that happen!
Click this link to tell us you want to win in November.
Join a Zoom postcard party or write cards at home on your own. It all helps! We couldn’t be more thrilled that you are part of this work.
Virtual Postcard Events
We’ll be doing these events twice per week so order your postcards now. The Zoom meeting link will be at the bottom of your confirmation email.
Virtual Cards & Coffee – Every Wednesday – see you tomorrow!
Sign up for any Wednesday– Pick the date you want when you sign up, 11:00 am to 1:00 pm (stay for as long as you want). Sign up here.
Virtual Cards & Cocktails – Every Thursday
Sign up for any Thursday– Pick the date you want when you sign up. 6-8 pm (stay for as long as you want). Sign up here.